During a visit home to Kirksville over Labor Day weekend, Dad and I drove around town on a history tour. We used the Travel Storys app, which uses GPS to automatically launch an audio description of interesting sites as we drew near. Using our car rather than proceeding on foot, in two leisurely morning drives consisting of about an hour each, we were able to visit all of the sites marked with a green bubble on the map.
What a joy and delight it was to experience some of the stories of Kirksville! We are thankful to Mayor Zac Burden and the City Council for making this history tour available. The mayor narrates the tour, and there is no better voice we would rather hear guiding us around the sites… clear and distinct enunciation, yet with a contagious sense of appreciation for those whose stories have shaped us.
What I discovered from doing the tour is that it makes me wonder all the more about all the other stories Kirksville offers in the older homes and structures that were not included! Such a tour as this is an entry, a doorway, a starting point, not an endpoint. It changes the way one looks at old familiar places, or how one responds when certain names are mentioned. It is a guided introduction not only to the history of Kirksville, but also to beginning to think historically in general.
In other words, it’s not just for tourists! Even more so, it deepens a sense of civic identity for those who live in Kirksville, or grew up there, and causes us to look more attentively to appreciate similar stories as we encounter them among us, wherever we are.
Now hopefully Truman and ATSU will sponsor their own tours that coordinate with the Kirksville tour for a comprehensive and integrated picture of Kirksville’s past.
If I have another home than Kirksville, it would be Wyoming, and in the Travel Storys app I see a long list of tours for Wyoming. Not so much for Oklahoma. So a big thank you is in order for those responsible for creating this tour, who made it possible for residents and visitors to Kirksville to enjoy experiencing a historical dimension of the place we all hold dear.
To try out the tour, download the free TravelStorys [sic] app from the App Store or Google Play. Open the app and then search for “Kirksville” and download the free tour (about 60MB). I granted permission for the app to know my location only when I am using the app; this GPS location awareness is necessary for autoplay of location descriptions. Alternatively, one may browse any location manually, wherever one may be. Note: The platform includes some premium tours, but the app and the Kirksville tour are available at no charge.